Engie’s solar offensive embraces Algeria

The French power utility Engie is considering competing in the upcoming tender for 4 GW of solar in Algeria. The company’s general director Isabelle Kocher met with the country’s minister of energy Noureddine Boutarfa on Wednesday to discuss details about the 4 GW solar tender recently announced by the Algerian authorities.

According to a press release from Algeria’s Ministry of Economy, Kocher has discussed with Boutarfa about the potential cooperation between the company and Sonatrach, a state-owned oil and gas provider which is also in charge for implementing the 4 GW solar plan. Sonatrach will also hold a 40% stake in all the special purpose companies, which will own the PV projects selected in the upcoming tender.

The ministry stressed that talks included potential investments in the frame of the 4 GW tender, which imposes, among other things, investments in the local solar manufacturing industry. The tender, in fact, is reportedly to include a domestic content requirement, which is expected to raise investments to set up solar module manufacturing facilities across the country.

Engie’s move is just the last action of an expansion plan of its solar activities on a global scale. In late March, the company announced it entered into a strategic partnership with Sime Darby, a Malaysia-based diversified multinational corporation to co-develop business opportunities in solar energy and high-end, state-of-the-art integrated facilities management services.

Earlier in mid-March, it also issued a €1.5 billion bond to sustain its expansion into the renewable energy sector. Furthermore, the company signed a cooperation agreement with Belgium’s Federation of Commerce and Services to promote commercial solar energy solutions among the companies of the sector.

The company has also expanded its presence in the solar sector through several M&A transactions, the latter of which was announced on Thursday. Engie is currenty active in the solar business through its subsidiaries Compagnie du Vent, Solairedirect, Engie Green and La Compagnie Nationale du Rhône (CNR). The group aims at installing approximately 2.2 GW in solar PV by 2021.